Want to know more about the Faces of FlyerTalk?
Kurt (Stoughton), is relatively new to the game (compared to some of the old-timers) but in just over two years he’s figured out the game and well on his way to be an old pro. With a few million miles accrued to date he certainly has take the bull by its horns and is already a mileage millionaire. Kurt, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We’re thrilled to you be a part of “Faces of FlyerTalk”.
When did you find FlyerTalk and how did you find it?
I registered in May of 2010. After a trip to Central America, I’d accumulated some AA miles and gotten an AA credit card. I’d been wanting to learn more about the frequent flyer game and after surfing the net for a bit, I came across Flyertalk. I probably lurked for a couple months before finding a reason to register and join in the conversation.
Do you consider yourself an infrequent, fairly regular, or miles and points addicted reader?
Pretty addicted to reading. With the smartphone, I can keep abreast of the forums while doing other things, and I don’t ready every topic so a ‘visit’ only takes a minute or two.
How often are you on FlyerTalk, and what forums do you typically visit?
Daily and I spend most of my time in Miles Buzz, with occasion visits to program specific forums depending on upcoming needs and plans
Do you travel for business, leisure, or both?
95% leisure, 5% business. My work related travel is only in-state and almost always just day trips. Overnight is fairly rare. For business I can use my own credit card for the expenses, so there’s a points opportunity there as well. And, I get to keep all my points/miles.
What credit cards are you carrying in your wallet right now, and which ones do you recommend to friends?
Right now, it’s a mess as I’m in the midst of making spend on a slew of new cards, but when not working on that, I carry the SPG Amex and Ink Bold. I recommend all different cards based upon their travel desires. I’ve had friends get the Citi AA cards for flights, Citi Hilton for hotels, etc. None of my friends or family are into straight accumulation as I am, so their needs tend to be more event specific.
What’s the single most successful thing you’ve done to acquire points and miles?
Apply for credit cards – if you have good credit and can make the spend, I can’t think of any way to faster gain a large # of miles with minimal effort. After that, probably working the US Mint dollar coin deal.
How many miles / points have you accumulated in the past year? In your lifetime?
I’ve only been at this in earnest for about 3 years so my lifetime balance is only at around 2.5m. In 2012, I’ve generated around 400,000. It’s been a slower year as I’ve not had the time to devote to the hobby.
Do you use a tracking program to keep track of your miles / points? Which one?
How does your spouse / partner / family / friends feel about this hobby?
My wife loves it. She very much enjoys the perks that come along with having the miles/points & status you gain thru this. She participates as well, though not to the extent I do. My Father also participates to a limited extent and my Mother is fairly certain we’re all going to jail for this somehow
What’s your most memorable trip?
Hard to say. Our last big trip was to Paris, Amsterdam, and Belgium. Almost the entire trip was on points and miles and we stayed and flew far better than we would have on a cash trip. That said, every trip is memorable. Rafting in Costa Rica is as equally exciting as hiking in the Algarve or sipping coffee along the canals in Amsterdam. We’re pretty happy no matter where we end up or do.
What suggestions can you give to rookies and newbies on FlyerTalk?
Read. Read. Read. With what seems to be increasing frequency, new readers are asking simple questions that can easily be answered by taking 10 minutes to read the thread they’re asking in. In the longer threads, there are very few new questions and if you take a little time to try and figure it out for yourself, you’ll get much further than expecting everyone to spoon feed you the answers. Questions are great, but not if someone has literally answered the same question 1 page earlier.
Are there any particular fellow FlyerTalk members whose advice you follow?
Not on purpose. There are some who post with greater frequency than most so naturally, I see their advice more often. I’m fairly skeptical of ‘deals’ so I try to read numerous posts form as many members as I can before jumping into something new.
What’s the one thing you’d like to see change on FlyerTalk?
A period of time where new members are able to read but not post. Maybe just a week or so but enough time to prompt them to read the material before jumping in and asking questions. I realize that makes me sound like a real curmudgeon, but it adds a lot of background noise to the threads if the same things are asked over and over and over again.
Have you attended or are you planning on attending any FlyerTalk related events?
Any other comments / questions / suggestions / advice?
Be creative, be daring, and be willing to fail in your quest for miles & points. IF you don’t take chances, you won’t realize the best return.
Kurt, thank you again for sharing with us. We’ve got a couple of thank you gifts to get to you, and your avatar will now show you, as one of the Faces of FlyerTalk for years to come.
Here are a few pictures Kurt has shared with us: